In the fall of 1967, I was riding bikes with my best friend, and I stopped beside a mailbox that had its red flag up. For some reason, I opened the mailbox. Nothing. I raced home, my friend right behind me, and we sat together at a picnic table on the deck outside my back door, taking turns writing chapters of our novel. The Mystery of the Missing Letter.

This novel was the only piece of creative writing I did voluntarily until I was 38.

In the spring of 1967, days before my tenth birthday, I had finished Gone With the Wind–my party would be taking three friends to see the movie. I was always a big reader. In elementary school, I kept a plastic index card box full of cards, each one a book I had read. Some time later, I remember wondering why in the world I had kept that box and tossing it.

Before I pulled over to the side of the road at the age of 38, other than these few months in 1967, I had no desire to be a writer.


 365 true things about me
why this daily practice